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Hamlet - Essay Example

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With the skilled hand of its creator, William Shakespeare, the play exposes the great variety of themes and motifs with the help of literary devices and techniques that make the told story indeed…
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Hamlet
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Significance of the "play within the play" in "Hamlet" Hamlet is recognized as one of the most famous and influential plays of all times. With the skilled hand of its creator, William Shakespeare, the play exposes the great variety of themes and motifs with the help of literary devices and techniques that make the told story indeed interesting to contemplate. In this context, among the most memorable and important dramatic devices used in the play can be considered the play within the play as far as it both helps to create suspense and tension, reveal the truth, and in this way, develops the plot of the play.
“The Murder of Gonzago” is a play directed by Hamlet as he learns from the ghost that this was his uncle Claudius who killed Hamlet’s father in order to become a king. It is aimed at replicating the events which, as Hamlet suspects, happened in reality and led to the death of his father. Subsequently, the logic behind showing this play is to reveal the guilt of Claudius by showing him circumstances that are expected to cause a particular reaction from the man: “To catch the consciousness of the king.” (Act II, Scene II) In this way, the suspense is created. As a result, Hamlet confirms his doubts and realizes that his father was killed by the new king. In this way, the plot gets its logical development and approaches to the climax.
Apart from serving as a catalyst for the plot development, inclusion of the play into the play can serve the purpose of reinforcing the theme of pretending and lack of certainty, which is one of the essential themes of the given play. Throughout the play, Hamlet and Claudius are playing their roles (Hamlet acts insane and Claudius – honest and innocent) instead of being what they really are. At the same time, it is not clear whether Gertrude was loyal to her husband and whether she knew about the plans of Claudius. Furthermore, Hamlet is not sure whether the ghost he saw was saying the truth: “The spirit I have seen may be a devil.” (Act II, Scene II)
Similarly, actors in “The Murder of Gonzago” are playing their roles and highlight the motif of theatricality of the life. The play within the play becomes a reflection of the real life in which people act as actors. The following can also hint on the attempts of Shakespeare to assert the importance of art and power of theatre as a whole. For instance, in Hamlet, the play within the play not only exposes the truth, but gives the prince the power and passion to revenge. In other words, actors on the stage provoke actions and make one reflect on the past and predict the future.
To sum up, the significance of the play within the play in Hamlet is difficult to overestimate. It can be considered as a central scene for the development of the plot as far as it frees the main character from his doubts and helps to reveal the truth about the murder of the king. It also helps to create the suspense and make the audience involved in what is happening on the stage. Apart from that, “The Murder of Gonzago” reflects the theme of uncertainty and theatricality of life, because the play of actors resembles behavior of characters, who pretend instead of being what they really are. Subsequently, the play within the play in Hamlet is, doubtless, one of the most memorable and interesting scenes to contemplate and analyze.
Works cited
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Print. Read More
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